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Tibben, a nickname formerly used for the Mennonites in the Netherlands. In 1549 the name "Tip" was given to the Mennonite woman Hadewych in Leeuwarden. In the trial of the martyr Reytse Aysesz in 1574 there is a question concerning "Mennonites and Tibben." In a mandate issued in 1612 in the district of Twente in the Dutch province of Overijssel is found the phrase "the congregation of the Tibben or Anabaptists." In the same year mention is made of the "Mennonites or Tibben" who are numerous in Westphalia. In the Dutch town of Deventer is found the Tibbensteeg (narrow street). In the province of Groningen the name of Tibben for Mennonites was still common in the 18th century. Thus it can be asserted that the name Tibben was formerly used in Friesland, Groningen, Overijssel, and Westphalia; the name was unknown in Holland and Flanders.

The meaning of the word Tibben is not clear. It is thought to have been derived from a Christian name Tibbe, or the family name Tibma of a person who would have been a follower of Menno Simons, but such a name is unknown. Some are of the opinion that it was derived from a hamlet in Friesland near Dokkum. Broese van Groenou thinks the word is etymologically connected with the Flemish verb dubben, Latin dubitare. Then a Dibbe or Tibbe would be a dubious person, who cannot be trusted; the word dubbe in Flemish also means hypocrite. But this explanation is too farfetched; moreover the name Tibben for Mennonites was unknown in Flanders. Several interpretations of the word Tibben do not satisfy. The most satisfactory one is still the view of de Hoop Scheffer (Doopsgezinde Bijdragen [1882]: 40) that the Mennonites were sometimes called Tibben after a certain, now unknown, person named Tibbe (or Tjibbe), a corruption of Thiebout.


Braght, Thieleman J. van. Het Bloedigh Tooneel of Martelaers Spiegel der Doopsgesinde of Weereloose Christenen, Die om 't getuygenis van Jesus haren Salighmaker geleden hebben ende gedood zijn van Christi tijd of tot desen tijd toe. Den Tweeden Druk. Amsterdam: Hieronymus Sweerts, 1685: Part II, 682b.

Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theatre or Martyrs' Mirror of the Defenseless Christians Who Baptized Only upon Confession of Faith and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus Their Saviour . . . to the Year A.D. 1660. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1951: 998. Available online at: http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/index.htm.

Brune, Friedrich. Der Kampf um eine evangelische Kirche im Münsterland, 1520-1802. Witten, 1953: 122 ff.

Cate, Steven Blaupot ten. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Friesland. Leeuwarden: W. Eekhoff, 1839: 375.

Doopsgezinde Bijdragen (1882): 34 ff.; (1888): 49.

The Mennonite Encyclopedia : a Comprehensive Reference Work on the Anabaptist-Mennonite movement. Hillsboro, KS, etc.; Mennonite Brethren Pub. House, etc., 1955-1959, 1990: v. III, 779.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Tibben." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 23 Jan 2020. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tibben&oldid=130132.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1959). Tibben. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 January 2020, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Tibben&oldid=130132.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 720. All rights reserved.

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